David Beckmann is determined to remain an unflappable force to be reckoned with around the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps as he lines up in fifth for both the Sprint and Feature Races – smack bang in the middle of the fight for points.
However, it didn’t always look like his weekend was going to play out at the front of field. Crossing the line just in the nick of time in a thrilling Qualifying session that saw the order chop and change right until the last second, the German’s final effort sent him skyrocketing up the timing sheets to secure Van Amersfoort Racing’s best Qualifying result of their first Formula 2 season so far.
“It was a very dramatic Qualifying, first of all because it was still drizzling so we didn’t know how the track would develop over the session. We had a first run, which was quite decent. I think we were seventh or eighth which is always the goal, but then on the second run we decided to go out a bit earlier to make sure we used the dry spot because at that moment it wasn’t drizzling anymore.
“That was very difficult because I was the only driver out on track and all the other cars went out later. On my first attempt, I had a really good first push lap and went purple in Sector 2, but then I had massive traffic at the bus stop chicane so I couldn’t finish that lap anymore. Then I had to do two cooldown laps to get back in sync with everyone and that was very difficult.
“I just got over the line, did my last lap and went from like last to P5 which was quite nice, but not easy. I’m really proud of myself that I managed to do that whilst under pressure.”
Understandably pleased with his efforts, Beckmann didn’t have the smoothest time of things in the run up to the line. Despite the slick tyres falling more into their ideal performance window as the 7.004km continued to dry lap-by-lap, there were plenty of damp and greasy patches to catch the drivers out and he admitted he wasn’t sure how he managed it off.
“I had to really push in the second sector because I had no slipstream at all, so I was all alone which made it difficult for me to keep up in Sector 1 and Sector 3. Also, it was still a bit wet in Turn 1, so you didn’t have a lot of grip there and the kerbs were also wet. In general, it was not easy to drive, and my tyres were already overheating. It was very slippery for me – I don’t know what I did, but it worked out!”
Turning his attentions towards the 18 laps of action on Saturday evening, he’s well aware of the potential the circuit has for overtaking moves around its 19 turns. However, Beckmann’s hoping to keep it clean out on track and remain cool, calm and calculated as he seeks a return to the podium for the first time since Baku 2021.
“I think we can maybe get a podium if everything works out because in the end it’s also about what stage your tyres are in and up to this event, we’ve always had good race pace. I think it will be a mess anyways, like it always is in Spa. For sure there will be Safety Cars and everything, so I’m pretty sure it will be a long race and the one who keeps their head cool until the last lap will probably be the fastest.”
Having stepped in for Jake Hughes due to illness during the previous two rounds in Le Castellet and Budapest, Beckmann takes the reigns of the black and orange Van Amersfoort Racing car for the final four rounds of the year. After starting on a strong note, he’s hoping to take full advantage of the opportunity and is optimistic that their momentum can carry them further forward.
“It’s very positive, the team can work with me completely openly and try to improve the car. I think it worked out quite well this weekend at least, so I think we are making positive progress. For me, it’s nice to drive for the last races because it’s always nice to drive in Formula 2.
“As I couldn’t finish the season last year and this year, I’ll finish the season but didn’t start it, so basically I have one full season together,” he joked.